Thursday, April 24, 2008

In which the fish is rounder than she thought

I suppose it all started when this happened:

They were loose last time I put them on. I know they're a decade old, but perhaps two months of comfort eating has left its mark. I hardly ever wear jeans.
The minute I sat down in them, my nether end made contact with the outside world in a big way, which was seriously depressing. So I put on a dress instead, and went to the fruit market.

(This is called serious foreshortening, but do note the staightness of the falling drapery.

One of the ladies who works there eyed off my smock dress. 'So, your'e expecting!'

'Er, no, actually, I replied,

thinking to myself what a rude beast she was, and smoothing down my front, to show her nothing there. I mean, I am ample, but as far as I remember, the baby bump pokes out the front, not the back. hmph.

'oh, thats good', she continued cheerily. 'It wouldn't be such a good idea at your age!'

You just wouldn't say it, would you?

Feeling rather sorry for myself and my battered self image, I arrived home and wandered out the back. This little guy was sitting on the back of one of the chairs. I went and stood right beside him.

He gave me a look and asked, 'what is it you want?'
and I realised that birds know no boundaries, they have no word for old, and to him, I was standing in his garden. The mound of droppings under the chair informed me that he sits there all the time.
"Tell me your name" I said, and he clacked his beak before returning his gaze to the lizards in the bushes.
I couldn't make out what he said.

I left him to it, and decided to take my chances on the sea shore.

' you old snash, you old stinky'* I shriek at the sea. 'Can't keep me out'
It was still rolling about in a sly and mean fashion, that sea, and there was a sign saying 'beach closed'.


The lifeguards stood up and moved to come down when they saw me going in, but I adopted the guise of a blackfish and slipped in low. They both swore they saw a person for a second, but convinced themselves they must have been dreaming of fish .

When I was deep under I found myself turned the colour of stones, greys and blacks. I liked the feel of my hair tugging and floating. My heart racing as I slip along channels and wash down the beach. No fish here! I call to the startled fisherman.

And while I am there I think of many things. Poems and pictures and stones and magic and birds and fish.
I emerge with a headful of wonder.
Sinkers the Lifeguard stands up, and scratches his head.
The smell of fish and chips drifts down from the cafe.
I shake out my wet hair, and go shiny and dripping back home.

*Acknowledgment for this phrase to Ganching. See Seamus at his Rest


jellyhead said...

fifi, you won't believe this, but just the other day I split a pair of pants.... at work! I had to do a rush job at sewing them up with the emergency sewing kit they keep at the front desk! I, too, have been overdoing the snacking. It's so tedious being restrained.

There's not a baby bulge in sight .... who is this woman who speaks with forked tongue??

Before I go, I want to SCOLD you for going in the thrashing dangerous water... tsk tsk tsk! Bad fifi! (though I do understand why you want to go in - seeing as you are a beautiful fish and all)

I hope you have a lovely long weekend.

fifi said...

The comment was made by a very beastly woman who was lucky I didn't thwack her with two bananas simultaneously on either side of her head.

And the sea wasn't toooo bad. I know when not to tempt fate.

I feel better knowing that all over australia, pants are exploding, not just mine.....
you have a great weekend too.
(Since I am currently being "entertained" by the ukelele version of George Michael's "Faith", I think mine might seem longer than yours...)

bluemountainsmary said...

You see I anticipate the splitting of the pants and just buy a bigger pair - depressing really....

I had a similar comment made to me years ago when i was wearing a shift dress (burnt orange linen - groovy I thought) and was 20 KILOS LIGHTER. Imagine my mortification.

Frogdancer said...

I popped on over after your comment. This post is great! It certainly took off on a tangent I didn't expect. I'm off now to do a bit more reading...

Isabelle said...

Oh Fifi, you're not round! That was a rude and silly lady.

Great words and pictures as usual.

ganching said...

What does "snash" mean in Australia? My father used the word a lot and in the context he used it it meant "cheek". It is a word I've rarely heard anyone else use.

I have a theory that if you don't wear your clothes for a long time they shrink and it has absolutely nothing to do with you getting larger and anyone who says different is a big liar. What a rude man. You should have said
"Don't be giving me any of your old snash!"

fifi said...

Oh, Ganching,

Ages ago you posted the most beautiful piece on "Seamus at his Rest". I loved it so much, it stuck in my head.
I went to the beach and ran into my friend Paul, who is Irish, and having this chunk of Irish in my head, asked him if he had ever heard the term, "your old snash" which of course he repeated endlessly on command in his Irish voice with me howling in glee: again, again!

We call each other Old Snash now. I did deduce the meaning in the first instance, but it was the first thing that came into my head when calling abuse at the ocean.
I hope you don't mind my taking Seamus's phrase like this, I would have linked the word to your post if only I could work out how to link, when I do, I will. It was one of my fave posts ever.
(I think my code got corrupted)

BM Mary: An orange Linen dress sounds just the best dress. I usually avoid pants altogether. They dont really make them in my least you didnt get the latter comment, which was worse.

Frogdance, hellooo nice to see you. That is my usual tangent, I always end up there really!

bluemountainsmary said...

Came back to re read because I am becoming a stalker - I love your writing that much!!

And now have that fantastic snash word firmly snashed in my brain.

Regulus said...

"'So, your'e expecting!...oh, thats good', she continued cheerily. 'It wouldn't be such a good idea at your age!'"

You tell that rude, vicious *** if I ever come to Australia and find out who she is, I will smack the bitch out of her. No, I mean it. I don't care. She can go to hell.

I'm sorry, Fifi. You're too good a person to say what should have been said. To hell with her. You don't deserve that kind of verbal assault by some ****.

And, by the way, I think you are absolutely lovely. She should be so lucky to know a person like you.

I'm sorry, but that's just frickin' rude and she should go to hell.

On another note, I've been obsessed with finding that spot you visited via Google maps/satellite. I actually was trying to narrow down to that very quasi-island in the surf, a picture of which you posted in your last entry.

I am going to post it in my Arcturus entry (that I mentioned in my email to you), but probably not until this weekend.

meli said...

that's just what jeans do when they get old. mine are falling apart and they're only five years old...

what a beautiful kookaburra! sorry he wasn't more forthcoming. here's a francis webb quote for you (my current obsession). It's from a poem called 'Kookaburra on Television', set in Norfolk:

What are those laws of harmony and peace
But joy and guffawings that need never cease?
So Norfolk dares to upraise her genteel rafters
With many ungodly antipodean laughters.

Molly said...

That was no "lady" at the market---not content with putting one foot in her mouth she made haste to cram the other one in too!?Someone needs to tell her not to be upsetting our Fififish or one of us may have to come down there and box her ears [which might help to pop her feet out of her mouth.....]
The bird sounds much more amiable, AND fertilizing your garden for free! Not to mention how decorative he must look there.
So nice you have the "wonder"-ful beach and those wondrous, welcoming waves, which surely must make old fishwives at markets [with enormous feet!] seem insignificant...

I am all agog---roll on Monday!

ganching said...

fifi thanks for link and your kind words.

fifi said...

regulus: i think she was merely rather stupid. I was amazed that someone could be so ridiculously foot-in-mouth diseased.

Meli, that is so lovely. I do have a special love of Norfolk. I think I was the kookaburra of the poem, just for a second. :-)

Molly, yes, be excited...

ganching. thank YOU.

little red hen said...

Oh no! I can relate to your woe and it was nice that I stumbled across your blog while nursing my own fragile self image. Nice to know we are not alone. Thanks, your entry made me smile.

Kirti said...

Oh lovely I get asked that all the time(Beau was 11 pounds so I will always look about 3 months pregnant!)and often I am tempted to say "no but I have 'such and such a disease" just to see them squirm. But usually I just tell the truth and bask a while in the gasps of admiration of one who could birth such a large baby......
Thanks for your words of support and your beautiful posts. The blogging community is a great source of comfort and inspiration isn't it!!

jane said...

One should never,EVER, EVER, make assumptions about the impending (real or imagined) birth of a little person. Not even if the woman in question is carrying a box of disposable nappies in a brand spanking new stroller. Never never never ask a woman if she is pregnant. Wait to be told or shut the fuck up.

travistee said...

Fish aren't supposed to wear jeans anyway, so you don't really need that particular weight-monitoring device, darling. Just enjoy your flowing dresses...

Anonymous said...

I just stumbled in from bluemountainsmary (and I found her from Mrs. G. at Derfwad Manor). Your writing is absolutely delicious! Reading makes me feel like I have become the fish. Do you publish? (If not, you really ought to consider it.)
And this comment you left at BMM: "I sometimes wonder if, were I unable to look over the sea when I woke each day, I would shatter into tiny pieces." This is so beautiful that my heart yearns for a view like that.